Don’t look now, but having won five of their last six games, the Ohio State Buckeyes are back in the AP Top 25, checking in at No. 25 in this week’s poll. This is the first time they have been ranked since falling out of the AP Poll on January 20.
Ranked once again after a four-week hiatus, it’s been quite a strange season for the Buckeyes, as I have already explained previously. There truly have been plenty of lowlights that have been mixed with highlights. I mean, that’s what happens when you are close to being ranked the No. 1 team in the country and proceed to drop to unranked in just over a single month.
It has been a season of runs for the Buckeyes, which is the main reason they have bounced around (and out of) the rankings, inevitably getting back in the AP Top 25 this week. After starting the season 9-0, they then lost seven of 10 games, including six of seven. Since then, they’ve won five of six and seem to have gotten their groove back. It’s just important that they continue that momentum going forward, especially with March getting closer and closer. With just six regular-season games remaining, Ohio State is currently 17-8 (7-7 in the Big Ten).
With Kaleb Wesson leading the way on both ends of the floor, the Buckeyes have leaned on their defense to win games, especially in their dominant 68-52 victory over Purdue this past Saturday. It was arguably their best defensive game of the season and they once again proved that their defense can take them very far. It’s just finding a legitimate and consistent second scorer offensively while also being efficient and not turning the ball over as much as well.
Along with the scarlet and gray, there are three other Big Ten teams who are ranked: Maryland (No. 7), Penn State (9), and Iowa (20). Arguably the best conference in college basketball, many believe that the Big Ten will get 11 (of 14) teams in March Madness. That’s quite impressive. Baylor (48 first-place votes), Gonzaga (14), Kansas (one), San Diego State, and Dayton round out the top five.
The Buckeyes will travel to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes Thursday night, with a chance to add another big-time win to their resume, especially away from home against a ranked opponent.